Green Building in India: Is There a List of Green Building Materials for LEED?
Post date: Feb 10, 2013 4:23:10 PM
Vellaiappan asks: Is there LEED recommended certified list of green building materials in India?
Advice provided by: Yusuf Turab, Y T Enterprises
Hi Vellaiappan, Many thanks for your question.
The following points should answer your question:
- The IGBC or the USGBC does not recommend or certify any products or manufacturers.
- LEED is an environmental performance rating system for building projects. It does not certify people (people are accredited), products or companies. However, the LEED India guide books do have examples of material types that might help to meet particular criteria.
- LEED is a rating system and not a standard. It does not mandate building strategies or the use of any particular materials. It simply awards points to projects if they meet certain pre-determined environmental, health and social criteria.
- There is no single product that can help a project score points for LEED. Material selection is a holistic process where the project team chooses various environmentally sound materials, which when combined may score points for different criteria.
- There is no environmental certificate system for products in India. It is up to the manufacturers to have their products tested against the relevant American, European or Indian standards. Manufacturers should make this technical information easily available so that project teams can make their material choices according to their requirements.
IGBC: List of Green Building Materials for India
Most green building consulting firms, including mine, create an extensive material list for each project. This list contains the material type, its application, minimum technical requirement to meet the LEED certification criteria, the LEED credit it relates to and recommended manufacturers. The project sponsor provides this list to their suppliers and procures materials accordingly. If you are looking for such a list, I may not be able to help you because our lists are very client and project-specific.
One thing you can do is purchase the IGBC directory of green building material and service providers. This directory has a comprehensive list of green building materials and suppliers. Material selection can be a confusing and complicated task because there are many factors to analyze before zeroing in on the final product. I usually find such directories a good place to start.
Green Products: “LEED Certified” Product Labels in India
I am glad you raised this question because I have recently noticed that many manufacturers in India are incorrectly labeling their products. If you attend any of the construction-related exhibitions in India you will find that there are many product manufacturers who will say that their products are LEED certified. Some manufacturers even include the phrases LEED Certified, LEED Accepted, LEED Recognized, LEED Compliant, etc. on their logos or product brochures. It is also quite common to hear claims from product manufacturers that using their products will give your project a certain number of points toward LEED certification.
On one of my visits to an exhibition I learned that many manufacturers simply go through the LEED checklist. They find the criteria that apply to their product. If their product meets these criteria, they simply assume that their product is LEED compliant or claim that their product will earn you a certain number of points.
All of these claims are invalid, because LEED’s credit requirements are for the combination of all the materials used in a project, rather than for individual materials. In fact, these manufacturers are in danger of facing legal consequences for providing false information and making exaggerated claims.
I personally think that a green product certification system is highly desirable. It would improve transparency and make the process of choosing materials much easier. However, such a green product certification system should not stifle innovation in any way.
Currently, purveyors of steel, aluminium, concrete, plastic, glass, bamboo, or any material other than wood do not have an incentive to create green materials because of the lack of a green product certification system. They are not motivated to demonstrate environmental and social responsibility in management or resource extraction, despite the fact that substantial environmental and social impacts are associated with production of all of these materials.
Change is long overdue. The responsibility for initiating that change lies squarely with the leaders of green building programs, executives of the largest building materials distributors, environmental organizations, and environmentally concerned citizens.